Lima Centro Walking Tour

After another delicious breakfast at Mariel Hotel we checked out and stored our bags. Our cab from Miraflores to Lima centro cost 10 dollars. We arrived at Plaza San Martin to commence our walking tour of the center, plan borrowed from the Discover Peru Lonely Planet guidebook. Plaza San Martin features a bronze statue of Jose de San Martin, Peru’s 19th-century revolutionary.

We then walked up Jiron de la Union, a pedestrian only street with excellent architecture. Still preserved is the Iglesia de la Merced, a baroque church built in the 1500s.

The street ends at the Plaza de Armas Lima, a huge square where the city was founded. Unfortunately the center of the square was closed by police for upcoming protests, so we had to walk around it. There we met an extremely helpful tourist information man who explained the area to us and gave us a map. He was so kind and helpful. They are dressed in white jackets with an “i” information patch, look for them!

At one end of the Plaza de Armas is the huge Palacio del Gobierno, Peru’s presidential palace. Apparently an exciting changing of the guard ceremony happens at 11:30am, but were were a bit too early to see it.

More streets were closed on our way to the Monasterio de San Francisco. There we caught sight of some of the protesters. The first group were ladies dressed in red with pro-choice signs. Sure a lot of police for a dozen women seeking rights if you ask me.

We took a tour of the Monasterio de San Francisco and its bone-filled catacombs with a guide in Spanish. We could have waited a few more minutes for an English guide but we wanted to practice our Spanish. I think I understood less than half of what she was saying, but I was also busy trying to sneak some pictures (photos were not allowed.) Thankfully there are signs in English and Spanish.

A borrowed photo of the beautiful library, from Dave Etzold’s Blog

When we exited the church, there was yet another group of protesters gearing up, the Municipal Workers Union were unfurling their signs and prepping to march. Two men with them wanted pictures with me, soy la sola rubia :p

Beginning to be pressed for time, we left the rest of our walk for another day and took a cab to the Bernucci Pasta restaurant in the Lince neighborhood for 5 dollars. Mom is really into genealogy and we believe the owner of the restaurant is her third cousin. It was very exciting to be there, we had pasta, snapped a few photos, and left a note with our contact information for the owner. We hope to meet her on the return portion of our trip.

We took a cab back to Mariel Hotel for 5 dollars to get our bags, then another cab to the airport for 17 dollars to catch our flight to Cusco. The airport was easy, but the plane ride was slightly sketch. There was a strong fuel smell, the cabin pressure wasn’t right, and the plane’s speaker system was so loud I had to cover my ears. Otherwise Peru Air’s service was good, they give you soda or juice of your choice and a little prepackaged lunch with half a ham and cheese sandwich and a banana muffin.

We arrived in Cusco, the former capital of the Inca empire, in the early evening and took a cab to city center for forty soles. This was a 5 cab day, wow. Cusco is very lively right now due to the upcoming Inti Raymi festival. There are tons of locals and visiting Peruvians about, packing the streets. There were fireworks at 10pm so loud they were setting off car alarms. Mom and I decompressed and wanders for a Pisco Sour and a snack before going to bed. More Cusco tomorrow!

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